Who will protect Islam from extremism and terroists? By Prof. Yunis Khushi Advocate


According to news reports, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has beheaded 1500 persons during the past 5 months, and a couple and their three children were beheaded and their 14 year old daughter was taken to some unknown destination just because they refused to give their 14 year old daughter into the marriage of a commander of ISIS.
A look at some horrible incidents from Pakistan: A mob of 20,000 persons burnt Shanti Nagar, a Christian Village, looted belongings of the people, kidnapped around 500 girls forcibly, raped them and returned the girls next day under pressure from Pakistan Army; a mob of 50,000 burnt schools and convents in Sangla Hill; a mob of 25,000 burned and looted Christian homes in Gojra; a mob of 25,000 burned and looted Joseph Colony, Lahore; a mob of 2,000 tortured, humiliated and burnt to death the Christian couple Shehzad and Shamma at Kot Radha Kishan. All the above incidents of violence are carried out in the name of Islam. The extremist groups, particularly in Pakistan, have become so strong and powerful that anyone who opens his mouth to condemn extremism and terrorism is eliminated. The strength of these groups lies in the weakness and support of the state institutions to these terrorist groups. The major proof of the weakness of the state institutions and their being a party to these violent incidents is that during the occurrence of these incidents police facilitated the terrorists who carried out these violent attacks and none of culprits was ever brought to justice by the judicial system of Pakistan.
Muslim intellectuals often complaint about the enmity of the Christians, Hindus, and Jews against Islam and Muslims. But after looking at the role of Al Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Punjabi Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, many other Muslim sectarian terrorist organizations, and local mobs in Pakistan and several other Islamic and Western countries, one is compelled to conclude that Islam and Muslims do not need any external enemies because they have become self-sufficient in internal enemies.
These extremists and terrorists are the worst enemies to their own religion of Islam. On the one hand, moderate and enlightened Muslims do not accept these terrorists as Muslims. These extremist and terrorist groups are labeled as American, Afghan, and Indian agents. On the other hand, the extremists and terrorists like Taliban and ISIS claim that they are true Muslims and that most Muslims, particularly the liberal, moderate, and enlightened ones, have deviated from the path of Islam and they need to be brought back into the folds of Islam by hook or by crook.
The terrorism in the name of Islam is being carried out because: Firstly, many Muslims continue to idealize the jihad that was carried out since the arrival of Islam wherein neighboring countries were sent letters by Prophet Mohammad and the subsequent caliphs i.e. Omar Farooq, Ottoman, and Abu Bakkar. The neighboring state were offered either to embrace Islam or they would be attacked. The neighboring countries were attacked, their wealth and women looted and distributed among the attacking jihadis, and non-Muslims were enslaved or reduced to the level of non-citizens and were compelled to pay jizya (protection tax).
Secondly, the Muslims are provoked to regain their past glory and rule the whole world because the concept of Ghalba-e-Islam (over-powering of Islam all over the world) motivates the Muslims to conquer the whole world so they to join terrorist groups.
Thirdly, a concept that creates problems for religious minorities in Islamic countries like Pakistan is the concept of converting a non-Muslim to Islam and this act will ensures a seat in heaven for the Muslim who does the same and also for his 70 relatives. The effort to confirm their seat in heaven and get 70 beautiful hoors compels Muslims to resort to negative and dirty tactics to forcibly convert non-Muslims to Islam. The cases of forced conversions to Islam and forced marriages of Christian and Hindu girls to Muslims are very common in Pakistan. Fourthly, extremist Muslim leaders promote hatred among Muslims and the minds of Muslims are being poisoned against other religion. It is being taught to Muslims that Islam is the final religion of Allah and Quran is the final order of Allah and that the previous religions and their holy books have been cancelled. Also that only Muslims are the selected, most favourite, and holy nation of Allah and other religious communities are non-believers, unholy, and despised by Allah. This is a paradox – the Muslims want other people to embrace Islam, respect Islam, yet they insult and openly degrade other faiths and their holy books.
Fourthly, the concept of love for the Prophet Mohammed – any Muslim who does not love Prophet more than himself, his children and parents, cannot be a true Muslim and true lover of the Prophet. Now, to prove themselves as true lovers of the Prophet, many Muslims resort to negative tasks. For instance, in Pakistan, thousands of people attack Christian slums and villages just because they hear a call from a mosque that a Christian has burnt the Holy Quran, and since every member of the mob has to prove himself to be a true Muslim and a true lover of the Prophet so he joins the mob and releases his anger over the Christian slum or village by burning it to the ground. So they, by attacking religious minorities and weaker sections of society, try to prove to be true Muslims and true lovers of the Prophet.
They forget that they can only become true Muslims and true lovers of the Prophet only if they follow the teachings of the Prophet, and not by inflicting cruelties upon religious minorities.
The extremist and terrorist Islamic groups are working against their own religion and bringing a bad name to their own Prophet and his religion of Islam. They are the worst enemies of Islam and their Prophet and not the lovers of the Prophet.
Religious extremism and intolerance among Muslims is anger against their ruling elite who have denied basic human rights to the Muslim masses, keep their subjects economically, socially, culturally, and politically backward. The masses in these countries cannot express their anger against the ruling elite due to authoritarian rules in Muslims Societies. Thus the anger of the masses is expressed in the shape of violence against religious minorities and smaller sects of Islam.
Isn’t it a serious failure on the part of the Muslim intelligentsia that they have not educated the Muslims to live in peace and harmony with people of other faiths? If some extremist groups will motivate Muslims to wage wars and attack the people of other faiths, then the people of other faiths including, Christians, Hindus, Jews, followers of Jainism and Buddhism will certainly not appreciate this act of Muslims and will definitely react very strongly. This could create serious threats for the whole of human civilizations.
Muslim intelligentsia, politicians, governments, bureaucracies, and majority of Muslim religious leaders around the world have sympathies with extremist and terrorist groups due to the concept of Jihad and Ghalba-e-Islam (both the concepts are much misinterpreted and misunderstood out the context by majority of Muslims), and liberal religious and political leaders prefer to keep their mouths shut and do not dare to speak a single word against extremists and terrorists for security of their lives and for the lives of their dear and near ones.
If Muslim leadership does not wake up to control the Islamic extremism and terrorism, the whole of human race and civilization will be at stake and the religion of Islam will be inviting extreme hatred and hostility not only from non-Muslims, but also from many educated and moderate Muslims.
Enlightened, educated, and moderate Muslims must raise their voices to save and protect Islam from extremist and terrorist individuals and groups like ISIS, Taliban etc. etc.
(The writer teaches Social Sciences and practices law in Pakistan. Email address: yunisadvocate@gmail.com)

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